Tonight, Thanksgiving evening, that Spouse o' Mine and I are sitting by the fire. Our adult kids plus a girlfriend are at another household, cooking up this evening's Thanksgiving dinner.
The two of us have begun reminiscing about Thanksgiving holidays. This started because our son was concerned this morning that the turkey had not thawed. That Spouse o' Mine reflected tonight, "That's not nearly so bad as when the turkey burned." I looked at him. A blank stare. And then I laughed out loud. There was a Thanksgiving years ago when he and my Mom were team-working with getting the turkey ready to serve. Somehow in their rush, the grease from the turkey spilled into the oven and a small fire alighted. It lit up the turkey, too. Thank goodness no one was injured! There was a bit of concern, but more laughs that afternoon than anything else. A singed turkey, a wafting odor of smoke, and we all laughed. Well...maybe not Mom.
Then there was the year way back when our kids were in grade school. We were to have Thanksgiving for the family hordes at our house that year. I was really looking forward to it! We had all systems go the night before: turkey ready to roast, fruits and vegetables lining the fridge. Before dawn the next morning I awoke to a serious stomach thing that would not permit me to move three feet from the toilet. (OK, that was as delicate as I can be.)
I called my parents, all four of my siblings, and told them in a feeble voice, "It is not happening today." They were disappointed, our kids were sad, that Spouse o' Mine probably hated the fact that he would have to nurse me back from death's doorstep that day.
Mere minutes after my five phone calls, I got a call from my brother Bob. "Load the kids and the turkey and have Paul meet me at the airport at 11:00."
Seriously. This explains (in part) why I am accused of being ultra-spontaneous. At the drop of a hat, my brother Bob flew from Pryor Creek, OK to Stillwater in a Bonanza. In the meantime, that Spouse o' Mine was roasting the turkey n our kitchen. I spent all those minutes you-know-where, not caring at all WHERE Bob and my family were heading.
So that Spouse o' Mine loaded up three grade school kids, a roasted turkey, and met Bob at the local airport. That Spouse o' Mine held the hot turkey in his lap the entire flight back to Pryor. That's where my entire, extended family celebrated Thanksgiving that year.
I was flat out on a sofa in a semi-finished basement, watching a Martha Stewart marathon all day long, in a pitiful way.
Maybe the funniest part of THAT sad holiday was a teacher's response to our son's written report of "My Family's Thanksgiving". She sent me a note: "Graham certainly has a vivid imagination!"
I let it go.
This year, we fast-forward to now having adult children who are no longer reliant on us, but are every bit so enjoyable to be in the company of. They and theirs are all in different dart-throws of the American map. (And one son-in-law is Down Under, so THAT dart was a toughie this holiday.) We met up in Bellingham, Washington, where son Graham lives. The four adult kids present are doing Thanksgiving dinner. I am totally loving the passing of the baton, even if it is just for this year.
This year has been a bit sad for that Spouse o' Mine and me. Both his parents, and mine, passed away within the past six months. It is sad. Being out here in the Pacific Northwest has been a bit of a salve, surrounded by our kids. But something happened this afternoon.
Our VRBO house is on a lake, and high on a hill. There are a kabillion steps to climb to get to the house. This afternoon I was climbing the stairs (after our morning Thanksgiving 5K run, mind you), my arms were full of grocery bags and wet running clothes and wet running shoes. Halfway up the stairs, my phone began ringing. I tried hard to run up to the top of the stairs! Hurry, I told myself. It's probably Mom & Dad!, I told myself.
And that's when my heart broke into a million pieces. It wasn't going to be Mom and Dad with their holiday phone call, all cheerful and laughter.
But we move forward.
It IS a happy Thanksgiving.
But we look back, as well.